TOEFL Test Sections

There are four sections that make up the test and this is reading, writing, listening and grammar. Most of the time, it will take around 4 ½ hours to complete.


Here there will be between 30 and 50 questions, and they are set out in two parts. The first one consists of a short conversation and the other is longer conversations. There will be 2 or 3 speakers and language that includes classroom based dialogue. You will have 20- 30 minutes to answer the questions and you will be given time to listen to the conversations so in fact you need to allow between 40 minutes and an hour to take this section. There is a clock showing on the screen so you will be aware of how long you have left. To avoid interruptions there are headphones provided and sound and vision will be simultaneous. Questions are multiple choice- 4 possible answers are shown and you must choose the right one by clicking the mouse next to it. Answers cannot be altered as you cannot go back once you have moved on. This is to allow the examiner to know if there is an understanding of meaning in language.


There are 20 to 30 questions to allow the candidate to show that they understand written English. 15 to 20 minutes has been allocated to this section and there are 2 styles. They are error identification and sentence completion and again four choices are given.


There are 44 to 60 questions and up to an hour and a half it given to answer them. There are passages written and the candidate has to read them and then the questions have to be answered – some will be easy, some more difficult. This is to allow the candidate to show that they can read and understand the written word. None will be technical but general wording, and here there is the chance to go back to either check or change answers that have already been done. Many are multiple choices, but there will be others that need to be answered by reading the text and finding them.


Here there is the emphasis on the candidates ability to put their feelings and thoughts down on paper in English. A subject will be chosen and they have to write on the topic – it must be an essay not just notes or bullet points. 30 minutes is given and here it can be hand written or typed. Notes can be made but will not be marked, it will be the grammar and style of the writing that is important and the better these two things are, the higher the mark will be.

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